Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama - names and locations

Started by Alex Moes on Monday, April 10, 2017
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4/10/2017 at 10:37 PM

The Dalai Lama was born Lhamo Thondup but according to wiki his current name is Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso which is typically shortened to Tenzin Gyatso.
Currently his name fields are Display= 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso; Title = The 14th Dalai Lama; First Name = Tenzin Gyatso.
I think we should leave the Display Name as is but change First Name = Lhamo Thondup and add to the AKA = Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso

4/10/2017 at 10:38 PM

From the way the profiles in this family are put together it looks like Tibetans don’t have surnames/family names? So it looks a little odd that the parent’s names on Geni both end with Tsering.

4/10/2017 at 10:38 PM

The Dalai Lama’s autobiography describes his birth location as the small village of Taktser, located in the province of Amdo, Eastern Tibet. If my history is correct that would be an accurate location at the time.
Currently the birth location shows as “Takstar Hamlet, Amdo, Qinghai, Tibet” which looks to be an attempt to reconcile the Tibetan name with the current political structure but ends up a mixture of both.
To keep it short and simple at this point we need to decide if we want a birth location that is time period appropriate or modern equivalent, once that choice is made we can nail down the detail.
I did try Google API but got unsatisfactory results for every option that I tried.

4/10/2017 at 10:55 PM

Traditionally no surnames in Tibetan names, however his parents could have "anglicized" a touch and are commonly known as "Mr. & Mrs ... "


has his birth location as Takster in Ando Province.

4/10/2017 at 11:06 PM

Tibetan names are very confusing, I think. I can never figure out the structure without asking.

Some things that might help:

Traditionally, family names are rare. When they appear they are almost always, maybe always, in noble families. If there's a family name it comes first.

Children are named by lamas, and lamas often give their own names to children. We have a zillion Tenzins in Colorado because they got their names from the Dalai Lama.

Most Tibetan names can be either male or female. That's why his parents can have the same name that is not a surname.

Every incarnation of the Dalai Lama has the second name Gyatso.

I'll leave the birth location question for someone else. I have a strong preference for using the modern map location, but I know many other people like to use the historical reference instead.

4/10/2017 at 11:10 PM

Takster was in disputed territory between Tibet & China, it appears. In fact Tenzin grew up speaking a dialect of Chinese, not Tibetan.

Yes, I had forgotten that his parents in fact had the same first name!

4/11/2017 at 4:49 AM

My understanding is that it was clearly a Tibetan province at the time of his birth.

The autofill from API is very unsatisfactory, how are other Tibetan profiles being handled... are there others?

4/11/2017 at 5:17 AM

All of Tibet was in disputed territory between Tibet and China ;)

4/11/2017 at 9:12 PM

Well, regardless of anyone's sentiments on the matter, Tibet is not a country.

According to both https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taktser the village of Taktser was part of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_China_(1912%E2%80%9349) at the time the Dalai Lama and most of his siblings were born.

If we go for a historical location name we need to work from that basis.

If we go for a current location name I think we should be guide by "Taktser is the Tibetan name of the village of Hongya (红崖村 Hóngyá Cūn, Hongaizi in the local dialect)[4], together with 13 other villages forming the Shihuiyao Township (石灰窑乡), of Ping'an County, in Haidong Prefecture."

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8/9/2017 at 5:46 AM

I'm sorry I made many of changes on and around the Dalai Lama but I didn't follow the profile. I know even less about Tibetan names than Justin, and can't weigh in on whether having his birth name as the primary name is appropriate. It may appear similar to the situation of the Popes, but the Dalai Lama was chosen at a very young age. In some cultures, the birth name in the strict sense is meaningless. (Well, they do mean something, like "silly boy" or "puppy". They'd get their actual name when they go to school.)

The government of the Republic of China was quite weak and was involved in constant civil wars and with the Japanese that it had practically no control of Tibet. Nonetheless, after WW2, the Tibetans did send delegates to the National Assembly in Nanking, 1946~1948. Perhaps only after 1959 did the exiled Tibetans start to claim that they had always been independent until the invasion by the Communists in 1950, which is not incorrect.

8/9/2017 at 3:25 PM

Hi Liu, thanks for confirming that Tibet was indeed a part of China at the time of his birth.

I have not made any of the changes that I suggested previously in this discussion as I am no way any sort of authority on this subject. It is a pity that none of the managers of the profile have taken the time to comment.

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